Hickory Nut Mountain

Hickory Nut Mountain

Hickory Nut Mountain Vista

Spectacular View of Lake Ouachita from the Hickory Nut Mountain Vista


The Hickory Nut Mountain trail segment begins at the picnic area atop Hickory Nut Mountain and ends at a take-out on Forest Service road FS47A. The trail follows the south side of the mountain along the top of a rock bluff before dropping onto an old logging road that parallels Hickory Nut Creek. A canopy of old and new growth trees provide shade in the summer heat.

The creek is spring fed and spellbinding as it flows; waterfall after waterfall, cascade after cascade typify the creek as it rushes down the gorge. Look for the Grotto and a four foot waterfall coming off the side of a hill. Large boulders, huge rock outcroppings, and steep drop-offs are common.

Before embarking on the trail, take note of the sign pointing to the Old Fire Tower spur.  After only a  .15 miles or 10 minute hike on the spur you will arrive at the old Forest Service fire tower site, which includes the concrete anchors of the tower, the foundation to the fire tower watcher’s cabin, a water cistern, and the two National Geological Survey medallions installed in 1953.

Surrounding Area:

From the picnic area at the trailhead, take a short 1.1 mile hike on the mountaintop access road to the Hickory Nut Mountain Vista where you will see sweeping views on both the western half of Lake Ouachita and the deep valley south of the Vista. This is the last time you will see the Lake once you start down the mountain.


3.2 miles one way to the trail termination at FS47A road takeout. But you can also backtrack 4 miles, from the trailhead to Joplin Trailhead.


The Hickory Nut Mountain trail is largely downhill, sometimes steeply, hike east to FS47A. But there are seasonal bridge-less creek crossings. The return route is very strenuous and a difficult biking trail. Recommend leaving vehicles at the FS47A takeout..


A primitive bathroom (outhouse style) and picnic tables are available in the day use area at the trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead:

Go east from Mount Ida about 13 miles, or west from Hot Springs about 21 miles (a mile or so west of the border separating Montgomery and Garland counties), to Hickory Nut Mountain Road. Turn north (your only option) and travel about 4 miles to the day use area sign at the top of the mountain. This will seem like a long way on a rough road; don’t give up. Turn left through the day use area to the two large cairns, one on each side of the trailhead entrance. Turn right at the day use sign and travel about 1.1 miles to the Hickory Nut Mountain Vista.

To reach the FS47/47A takeout area, go north on Hickory Nut Mountain Road for 9/10s of a mile. Turn right toward Crystal Springs onto FS47 (note that Google Maps may incorrectly refer to FS47 as “Hickorynut Mountain Road”) and go 2.6 miles to the intersection of FS47 and FS47A on your left. (FS47A may be listed as “Pollard Creek Trail” on some maps.) Go through the gate with an iron post on the right with “47A” printed on it. Go 2/10s of a mile to a low water bridge and park just across the bridge. Follow the road to your left for about 500 feet where you will see the trail on your right.


The trailhead does not accommodate camping. However, the Joplin and Tompkins Bend Trailheads to the west, and Crystal Springs to the east, have campgrounds and resorts nearby.

View of Hickory Nut Mountain from Joplin Campground

View of Hickory Nut Mountain from the Joplin Campground


Recent articles about the LOViT Hickory Nut Mountain Trail Segment:

New Directional Signs and Gap Creek Cleanup – Feb. 12, 2017

Traildogs Ron Mayfield and Robert Cavanaugh put up 13 trail signs where the trail comes down Hickory Nut Mountain and along the intersections of the LOVIT and FS 47. Six of the signs were placed on Hickory Nut Mountain.  Four of these were on  two posts where the trail comes down to Hickory Nut Mountain Road (FS Road 50) from the trailhead, and two were placed on a post near the kiosk/trailhead.  Another was placed at the intersection of FS 47A and FS 47.  Four went on bare posts previously placed along FS 47, and one replaced an arrow that was missing.   We put one more near the old pavilion near Crystal Springs. This should help hikers and bikers stay on the trail. Robert and Ron also cut 10 or 11 trees off of the short section between the Gap Creek Bridge and Hwy 270. This area had not been … Click to read the full article

A Cold and Rainy LOViT Marathon – Dec. 4, 2016

Yesterday, a handful of Traildogs joined with Phillip Carr and Shangri La’s Carr family to help with the annual LOViT Marathon, an out-and-back race traditionally held on the first Saturday in December. The race starts at the LOViT’s ADA Pavilion just off Shangri La Road and follows the Trail 14.1 miles to the turnaround at the Hickory Nut Mountain Trailhead. Phil had expected a record turnout, but the bleak and rainy December morning brought out 76 or so runners for the event, some running the full marathon, while others ran a ½ marathon, catching a shuttle back to the start/stop line from Hickory Nut Mountain. Despite the weather, this is always a great event. … Click to read the full article

A Recon Hike Along Section 4 – Jan. 8, 2016

Four Traildogs – Al, Mike, John, and Dan – met  Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, to set two posts for future directional signs where the LOViT crosses Hickory Nut Mountain Road, and then to hike Section 4 east to the trailhead for Section 5 at USFS Road 47A. The goal of the hike was “recon” – to evaluate the shape of the trail segment for any problems that need to be added to the winter maintenance schedule. After placing the posts, the recon hike was mostly uneventful, which is a Good Thing!  We were able to move three fallen trees off the trail, two of which needed a little prodding from a small hand saw.  Also, we noted a couple of areas that are in need of water bars in order to deflect rainwater off the trail to prevent erosion. And, no recon hike is complete without carrying loppers and shears … Click to read the full article

2015 LOViT Marathon Is In The Books …

The 2015 LOViT Marathon was run December 5, and by all accounts, it was a successful event. Your LOViT Traildogs supported the event by working at aid stations at both the Joplin and Hickory Nut Mountain Trailheads. Click on the image below to view photographs of the runners who made it to the top of Hickory Nut Mountain, the turnaround point for this out-and-back marathon. Here are the race results:  http://runarkansas.com/results/LOViT2015.htm.  Also, a slide show with many more photos can be found here:  http://runarkansas.com/slideshow/LOViT26_2015/slideshow.php.  Finally, here’s the LOViT Marathon Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LOViTmarathon/. What a great bunch of participants we enjoyed at this aid station.  Great people, great event! … Click to read the full article

2015 LOViT Marathon Scheduled for Dec. 5, 2015

The annual LOViT Marathon, a 26+ mile out-and-back course on the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (“LOViT”), is scheduled for December 5, 2015. Registration and additional information for this Ultra Trail Series race can be found on the website of the Arkansas Ultra Running Association:  http://runarkansas.com/LoVitTrailMarathon.htm. By registering for the race, it helps the race management and volunteers to put on a better and safer run for everyone, and it helps Phil and Bonnie Carr, who put on this annual event, when you register online via the above link, although registration is also accepted via “snail mail”. You can keep abreast of current announcements and other race information through The LOViT Marathon Facebook page (and we hope you “Like” us there!). A bit more information about previous LOViT Marathon events on the Trail can be found by entering “Marathon” in the search box on the right side of this page. The … Click to read the full article